Final Thoughts & Conclusion
After being impressed by another of ROCCAT’s products, the Kone gaming mouse, we were excited to see what sort of gamer-focused experience ROCCAT would produce with its Kave 5.1 gaming headset. After using this headset for many hours, it is clear to us that ROCCAT designed this headset with 5.1 channel gaming in mind, and they successfully did so.
At first we were a bit disappointed by the performance of this headset because we tested first in stereo mode. Unfortunately, the stereo performance of this headset was unremarkable. The highs were adequate, with things like vocals during music, higher pitched instruments, and higher frequency sound effects during games coming through crisp and clear. We particularly enjoyed playing Alan Wake in stereo mode, where the atmosphere of the game surrounded us. However, the bass in stereo mode was a bit mediocre, and both music and games lacked a certain punch that would have made the experience more enjoyable. Its most unfortunate setback, however, was the midrange performance. Particularly during music playback, we found the midrange reproduction to sound a bit off color.
However, once we plugged the headset into a 5.1 source, the performance immediately improved. With the dedicated subwoofer channel, bass was definitely fuller and more pronounced, adding a level of depth to movies, music, and games that was missing in stereo mode. During an atmospheric, moody game like Alan Wake, the surround experience really immersed us in the game. Driving games like Need for Speed and first person shooters like Battlefield 3 really benefited from the positional cues the surround features of the Kave 5.1 provided. We were better able to locate our enemies and we really enjoyed the experience.
The music experience in 5.1 mode was much improved over stereo mode, but it still wasn’t perfect. The subwoofer/bass channel really fleshed out the low end of the music and added a much needed punch, and the high end was crisp and clear. However, the mid range notes were still a bit tinny. The music listening experience was certainly enjoyable, but an audiophile might not be completely satisfied. The movie watching performance was quite good, with good sound quality and surround effects.
The headset was also comfortable to wear and remained comfortable throughout our testing. One thing we haven’t touched on in this review yet is the microphone performance. We did some test recordings and our voice quality sounded clear. Additionally, during a casual game of Portal 2 our team mate reported they had no issues with our voice quality.
ROCCAT appears to be positioning themselves as a gamer-focused hardware company, and the Kave 5.1 headphones seem to be designed with gaming in mind, as that functionality was certainly where this headset worked the best.
The ROCCAT Kave 5.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headphones are available for $109.99 plus shipping and are backed by a 1 year warranty.
Legit bottom line: The ROCCAT Kave 5.1 headset will satisfy any gamer, as long as their soundcard supports 5.1 channel mode.